Dancing around the world with Benjamin Poirier
Benjamin defines himself as “an elegant and determined dancer who transforms on stage.” French by birth, he studied ballet at the École Nationale de Danse de l’Opéra de Paris (Nanterre), at the Conservatoire National Boulogne Billancourt and at the English National Ballet School (London). He has been part of the Compañía Nacional de Danza since 2014.
Your career in dance begins with training at such great schools as the National Dance School of the Paris Opera or the English National Ballet. When did you discover that you wanted to be a dancer?
I loved music and danced all the time as a child, doing shows for my family and friends. I was always wanting to put on a show at parties and events. Until I saw my sister on stage and told my parents that I wanted to be there too! So they enrolled me in a dance school.
In 2008, you joined the Leipzig Opera Ballet in the soloist category. What was that experience like?
It was a very enriching and satisfying experience because I started dancing immediately, dancing many things from many different styles. Thanks to the choreography by Uwe Scholz, where there are a lot of double steps and challenging solo parts, I had to learn quickly and I loved it. His style has inspired me a lot.
Four years later, you become part of Mexico´s Compañía Nacional de Danza, performing different roles. Which would you highlight?
L’oiseau de Feu by Maurice Bejart and Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty and, also, forming part of the CND Mexico new stars’ tour.
You have also participated in different international festivals in Madrid, Sao Paolo and Tokyo. How would you say that they have enriched your career?
Dancing at galas and festivals gives you the opportunity to dance pas de deux or sols you have not been able to dance in your company. They are incredible challenges and push you as an athlete and as an artist. In addition, you meet dancers from the rest of the world and it is very inspiring.
You have been part of the Compañía Nacional de Danza since entering in 2014, then under the direction of José Carlos Martínez, and currently with Joaquín De Luz. What is it like to be a CND dancer?
The CND has a very large repertoire of different styles. And being a smaller company—and not one with 150 dancers—I have more opportunities to dance solo or lead parts. It is a real stroke of luck to dance an Apollo by Balanchine and then a Carmen by Johan Inger.
Here you have performed different choreographies, such as Carmen by Johan Inger, Por vos muero by Nacho Duato or In Paradisum by Antonio Ruz. How would you define the style of the Company?
We are so tremendously luck to have versatility in the CND but that also entails challenges on a physical level: you have to be ready and feel comfortable with jumping from one style to another. It is even more complicated for dancers doing pointe work. But that challenge is what makes you a better dancer and able to bring a different technique to a certain style of dance.
Finally, where would you like to dance in the future? And a more personal question, how do you plan to celebrate your birthday this year?
I think I will see my career out here in Spain, in the Compañía Nacional de Danza. It is the company with which I have been the longest and it would make me very happy to say goodbye to dance here.
I am going to celebrate my birthday with friends and with people I love and who love me. It is very important to surround yourself with people you know will always be there for you.
BENJAMIN POIRIER –CORPS DE BALLET
Interview: Natalia del Buey